So these are great days for women’s sport, right? The Olympic legacy has been translated into higher all-round visibility for women’s sport, greater participation, more sponsorship and increased coverage, hasn’t it? In a word, no. Just two months after the Olympic flame was extinguished in 2012, the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation reported that women’s sport only received 5% of coverage and 0.5% of commercial sponsorship.
Last year one of Britain’s quality newspapers pledged to “make sure our pages highlight the best of women’s sport, as well as men’s”, but a quick scan of their cycling coverage includes little more than articles on Victoria Pendleton’s performances on Celebrity Bake Off and pictures of the multiple gold medallist in an evening dress. The cyclocross season and the achievements of Britain’s Helen Wyman is not given an inch of space. The picture is no better elsewhere. Even dedicated cycling sites – the go-to places for credible, up-to-the-minute news – struggle to cover topics beyond elite male road racers.
— The long, hard road to equal pay for women’s cycling and sport as a whole | Sport | theguardian.com
"Eva Lechner had an amazing 2013 mountain bike season. In the Italian National Champion’s jersey, Eva opened her World Cup campaign in Albstadt in terrific style, taking the win and setting the standard for the summer. After Albstadt came another three World Cup podiums, a silver medal at the Europeans, another National title, World Cup Eliminator podiums, a handful of national series wins in Italy and third at the Langkawi International MTB Challenge. All this came together to elevate her to the number one ranked woman in the XC World. As well as the guts, determination and talent it takes to be number one, what is so great about watching Eva race is the evident love she has for it. She wears her heart on her sleeve in true Italian style, and her heart is usually smiling!"
— Tips from the Top. Eva Lechner: The UCI #1 | From The Pits
CM: Do you actually still like riding your bike, in and of itself? Or has it simply become what you do – your calling, so to say?
HK: Good question. It’s a kind of love-hate relationship. Sometimes I cursed the fact that I was caught in the rat race and was forced to subjugate myself to a team, sponsors and my race schedule, live a disciplined life and fulfill the fans’ and public’s expectations. But in the last few years, I have become more relaxed and I can enjoy the possibilities that I have as a professional athlete a lot more. I love taking a long training ride with colleagues (when the weather is good). And I value the fact that my sport allows me to constantly meet new, interesting people and discover new places that I never would have seen. I’m thankful for my health and that I can challenge myself physically when I ride my bike.
— Getting to Know Hanka Kupfernagel, Seven-Time German National Champion and Three-Time ’Cross World Champion | Cyclocross Magazine
"Cyclocross relies on sharp individual skills and crazy fans for whom it’s more religion than sport. It’s dirtier and earthier than road racing and challenges the idea that cycling equals the Tour de France. The Koppenbergcross is one of the sport’s iconic races – like Paris-Roubaix, the winner takes home a granite cobblestone for their pains – which makes the decision to offer equal prize money a real milestone. It says that cycling is so much more than 3 weeks in July. It puts an external quantifiable value on women’s sport that sends a direct message to sponsors about its worth to them. And it’s a divine opportunity for women to ignore the diktat that all worthwhile female sporting endeavour must be glamorous and fragrant and to be rewarded for good honest muck and sweat."
— The long, hard road to equality and why Koppenbergcross is such a big deal | 100 Tours 100 Tales
"There have been a lot of good signs around cyclocross this season - with the World Cups streamed for free on the UCI youtube, and equal prizes for the women and men at the World Championships - and just as the season closes, here’s some more - from this year, the Koppenbergcross, part of the huge bpost bank trofee series, will be the first European C1 race to pay equal prize money for the women and men, thanks to a sponsor from the USA, Maryland-based Twenty20 Cycling shops. European Champion and 2013 Koppenbergcross winner Helen Wyman, who helped make this happen, came to the Café to tell us about the impact of this on the sport."
"More than just money": Helen Wyman talks equal prize money at Koppenbergcross - Podium Cafe
I interviewed Helen all about the equal prize money, how it happened, what it means that a sponsor from the USA is providing funding for the first C1 European CX race to have equal prize money for women, and a LOT more! Click through and read it all!
This is just one race, it’s not the entire sport. But it’s a start. It’s no baby step, this is a great big stride in the right direction. I look at the ladder of progress that lies ahead for the sport and it has a lot of steps. The early steps are big but they build the foundation and this in my opinion puts women’s ‘cross in Europe firmly up one step. I would actually say there are two ladders for us to reach the summit of the sports potential. One is the more political ladder; the cross commission are working very hard to progress the sport. Everyone on the commission is pro women’s cycling. We are all trying to move the sport forward and are trying to make the correct changes that ensure the long-term progression, stability and sustainability of the sport. The other ladder is just people getting stuck in. It includes riders, organisers, the media and fans doing all they can to help the sport. No one person holds the keys.
I want change now. I want the next generation of riders to see they have a bright future. I want them to demand more, and want them to do that now. I’m impatient for change and when an opportunity to discuss a potential advance in the sport came up with the Koppenberg Committee I took it. Plans were made, no barriers found, and a fantastic backer for the event was found, in Twenty20 Cycling Co., Baltimore.
— What GP Twenty20 Cycling means to me | Helen Wyman